No Apologies Round Two

"Few if any recent generations could sit with a Bible in one hand and their newspapers in the other and see the fulfillment of prophecy, but for us it’s almost routine." Jack Kelly

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Ezekiel Factor Part 2

If you missed the first part, please see entry below. This is a fascinating look at Old Testament prophecies, which will come to pass soon!

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

As I said in part one of our study, Ezekiel ignored all of the post exilic period, the First Coming, and the subsequent 1900 year diaspora in his book, skipping from Jerusalem’s destruction in 586 BC all the way to the regathering of the Nation in 1948. One possible explanation is that after the Shekinah Glory departed the Temple before Jerusalem was destroyed (Ezekiel 10) He has never returned and won’t until the beginning of the Millennium (Ezekiel 43). The entire Second Temple period took place without the Spirit of God ever hovering between the Cherubim above the Ark in the Holy of Holies.
In fact, the Ark itself, along with its Mercy Seat and Cherubim, has been missing since before the Babylonian captivity began. According to the Mishna, the official codification of Jewish oral laws, there was no furniture in the 2nd Temple’s Holy of Holies, just a stone platform, called the foundation stone, on which the Ark had rested in the 1st Temple. The first high priest who entered the 2nd temple’s Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur should have immediately come running out of the Temple shouting. “Ichabod! Ichabod! (Inglorious! Inglorious!) The glory of the Lord has departed and we must repent until the cloud of His Presence again fills the Holy of Holies!”
But instead, for several hundred years they conducted the ceremony as if He was there, sprinkling the blood on the foundation stone and hoping He would forgive them from afar. After the 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70 AD they could no longer even do that.
Ezekiel’s focus on holiness could explain his 2600 year omission from Israel’s history. Remember, his chief aim was to remind them that they were the holy people of the holy temple, the holy city, and the holy land. By abandoning God for the pagan deities of their neighbors, Judah had not only become unclean as a people, but had defiled the temple, the city, and the land as well. God’s only choice was to withdraw Himself, send the people into captivity and destroy the nation.
Ezekiel 36 was an overview that extends from the regathering in 1948 into the Kingdom Age. In it, the Lord promised to bring them into the Land, cleanse them from all of their sins, install a descendant of David as their shepherd, give them a new heart and put His spirit in them, take them as His people and be their God and completely rebuild their nation.
In Chapter 37 we’ll begin to see how all this will come about. Let’s get started.
Ezekiel 37
The Valley of Dry Bones
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ “ (Ezek. 37:1-14)
That this prophecy is in some stage of fulfillment cannot be denied. During WW2 the Nazis’ final solution was the complete eradication of the Jewish people. They were hunted down, rounded up and sent to death camps, marked for execution. Then in the closing days of the war, the Allies liberated the camps and those whose hope was gone came out of the places that were intended to be their graves. I’ll never forget watching the news films of those skeletal figures in their striped prison garb walking through the gates of the camps, their eyes filled with wonder and bewilderment. Could it really be happening? 3 out of every 4 prisoners had died inside the walls of those camps, and the remainder who came out could simply not believe it was finally over.Later, after visiting the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem it was clear to me that I had witnessed the record of this prophecy’s partial fulfillment.
Because it wasn’t complete. The breath (Hebrew ruach) that was breathed into these skeletons came from the four winds, signifying that it was by a sovereign act of God and not because of anything they had done to deserve it. (Ezek. 36:22) And it wasn’t the Ruach haKodesh, the Holy Spirit. That blessing is yet to come for them. What this means is that the nation would first reappear on the world scene in its human spirit only, not in union with God. (Today only about one in four Israeli Jews is religious.) First they would have to realize that the Lord had done this and was behind their re-birth. That will happen after the Battle of Ezekiel 38, and after that will come Zechariah 12:10 when the blinders are taken totally off and they finally see Jesus as their Messiah. Then the Holy Spirit will come, the dead will literally come out of their graves, (Daniel 12:2) the nation’s resettlement in the Promised Land will be complete, and the prophecy will be fulfilled in total.
One Nation Under One King
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
“When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezek. 37:15-23)
Nearly 400 years before Jerusalem was destroyed, the nation had split. The Northern Kingdom had separated from the South over idolatry. The north was most often called Israel but was also referred to as Ephraim a dozen times or more. Isaiah 11:13 is a good example. The south was always called Judah, or in New Testament times by the Greek version, Judea. From the time of their latter day regathering they would henceforth be one again.
You may have had missionaries visit your home, representing a group whose founder was Joseph Smith. If you entered into their discussions, they may have expressed their belief that Joseph Smith appears in the Bible, citing Ezekiel 37:16 as their proof. Their interpretation of this passage is that the word stick means scroll so the stick of Joseph is his scroll, the Book of Mormon. The stick of Judah is the Bible. One day, they say the two books will be joined together and the world will understand that the Book of Mormon really is another testimony of Jesus Christ. Some Mormons think of themselves as the remnant of the tribe of Ephraim, who came to the New World at the time of the Babylonian captivity. (Recent DNA research has cast doubt on this view.) To them, having the Book of Mormon in their hands fulfills the meaning of Ezekiel’s words that the stick of Joseph is in Ephraim’s hand.
There three problems with this interpretation. The first is that it’s out of the context of the passage, which is the reunion of the northern and southern kingdoms. Joseph and Judah are two sons of Jacob who represent the two components of the divided Kingdom. (Ephraim was one of Joseph’s sons.) Second, as I mentioned, Ephraim was an alternate name for the northern Kingdom. And third, the Hebrew word translated as stick here appears 328 times in the Old Testament but never means a scroll. It means “a piece of wood.”
” ‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’ “ (Ezekiel 37:24-28)
This is the ultimate conclusion of the prophecy and is clearly yet future to us. It’s intended to be seen as a Kingdom Age prophecy, to be fulfilled after the 2nd Coming during the period of time that the Church calls the Millennium. One or more descendants of David will be the Prince spoken of in more detail later in the Book of Ezekiel. Remember the ultimate Son of David, Jesus, will be King of the whole Earth. This prince governs Israel only. The Temple and it’s use will also be described in detail in chapters 40-47. At that time Israel will once again be the Holy People of the Holy Temple, the Holy City and the Holy Land.
Oh, By The WayEven casual students of prophecy know that the next event on Ezekiel’s agenda is the battle that brings Israel back into a covenant relationship with God, arouses their national demand for a Temple and ushers in the 70th week of Daniel, the last 7 years before the Lord returns. And for the first time secular news sources in Israel have started mentioning Ezekiel 38, calling it the Battle of Gog/Magog. Just a few weeks ago, three prominent Rabbis in Israel barely stopped short of identifying US President Bush as the Gog of Ezekiel 38, addressing him by Gog’s title, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal instead.
But some, myself included, believe that there’s too much that still has to happen for Ezekiel’s battle to happen right now. In past studies, I’ve spoken about Turkey, called Meshech and Tubal in verse 3, as currently being on the wrong side, and Israel’s condition in verse 11, unwalled villages full of unsuspecting people, hardly describes the current climate there. Then there are the current major players, like the Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, Egyptians and Jordanians, who are all missing in the Ezekiel line-up. Does anybody think they’ll just disappear, or sit this one out?
These and other problems have scholars wondering about the possibility of another battle or two before Ezekiel’s. Isaiah 17 says that Damascus will be destroyed. It almost came to pass last fall, and many were surprised when it didn’t. If the fall of Damascus precedes Ezekiel 38 that would explain Syria’s absence, but what about the others?
This question has a few scholars taking another look at Psalm 83, and for some pretty good, if circumstantial, reasons. Psalm 83:4-8 contains a line up against Israel that historians can’t connect to any specific time in Israel’s past. That means it could still be in our future. And if that’s the case, it might be the event between now and Ezekiel 38, whether in conjunction with the fall of Damascus or separately, that puts everything into place.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you- the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. (Psalm 83:4-8)
Their objective is right out of today’s headlines, and it takes almost no imagination to see that the names of Israel’s antagonists in Psalm 83 could be representative of Israel’s current enemies, and include most of those missing from Ezekiel 38. I’m not suggesting that all these ancient people have come back to contend with Israel again, but those who inhabit the lands of these ancient people today are for the most part enemies of Israel just like the original occupants were. The Ishmaelites are the true Arabs of today and still live in the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia is the most prominent. Gebal (aka Byblos) and Tyre can be tied to Lebanon. Today’s Palestinians are neither the Philistines nor the Edomites of history. And today’s Jordanians aren’t the descendants of Ammon or Moab either, but both reside in the lands of their ancient counterparts. The Amalekites and Hagrites were from Edom, where Jordan is today, and the Assyrians populated lands belonging to Syria now. This is a prophecy that along with Isaiah 17 bears watching, because Israel’s victories against these enemies could make them into a larger, more powerful, wealthier nation, one that could get careless about their security and be taken by surprise sometime later.
Since Ezekiel made no attempt at a chronological history, it shouldn’t surprise us that he didn’t mention the fall of Damascus or this 2nd Arab coalition from Psalm 83. It’s another confirmation that the study of prophecy has to include all of God’s word not just a few popular chapters.
But we’re in a study of the End Times According To Ezekiel so Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 notwithstanding, our next study will cover chapter 38. See you then. 01-26-08

Related Posts:
A Question About Ezekiel’s Temple
Jesus In The Temple?
Ezekiel’s Sticks
The Temple, The Throne, And The River
Ezekiel’s Temple

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Ezekiel Factor

Before switching over to blogger, I was in the middle of posting a long series about Iran, Israel and the coming conflict. About that time as well, Russia, the Sleeping Bear, woke up. I had a few people ask me what did I think about Russia exerting itself again, against Georgia, and the activities of Putin and Medived. I have been studying a few parts of the Bible trying to get an understanding of where we are, and what is going to be happening soon. My focus lies on the Prophet Ezekiel. I have been reading an excellent study, the best I have seen so far, and I want to share it now in parts- as it has so much information on where we are going, and what is coming up. It involves Russia, Iran and others, and when we see it happen, you can be sure the Lord will be coming shortly after to bring His Bride, the Church, to Himself in the time known as the Rapture. Strap yourselves in folks- things are happening almost faster than I can write about them. Bible believing Christians can see signs of Prophecy almost daily now. I pray that those who do not believe, those who aren't sure what they believe and those who may believe but are skeptical about these days called the End Times- will see what has been happening in the world, open their Bibles- or go get one, and READ. It's all there. Everything that has made headlines in today's news- is in the Bible. You know, that dusty book written by a bunch of guys a long, long time ago. Read what Jesus says in all the four Gospels about the end times. Read the Book of Daniel, read Ezekiel. Read Revelation. Most importantly, even if you are not sure- ask God to help you to understand what is written. Sincerely ask Him, and He will show you what it all means.

The End Times According To Ezekiel- Part 1

By Jack Kelly

Ezekiel was from the tribe of Levi and was trained as a priest. No doubt He would have become one had his life not been abruptly interrupted. In 597 BC he and about 10,000 others were taken captive to Babylon in the 2nd siege of Jerusalem. Daniel and his friends had gone in the first one eight years earlier and in 11 more years the rest of the nation would be taken captive and the city and Temple burned to the ground. The 70 year Babylonian captivity had begun. There were actually two 70 year periods of judgment in play and they were offset by 19 years. One was the servitude of the nation, which began in 605BC with the first siege of Nebuchadnezzar, and the other was the desolation of Jerusalem which began in 586, at the end of the third siege, with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
The southern kingdom, called Judah, was all that was left of Israel since Assyria had conquered the north over 100 years earlier. Other prophets had warned the southern kingdom to learn the lesson of the north and turn away from their idolatry, and Ezekiel had much to say about it as well. But his chief aim was to remind them that they were the holy people of the holy temple, the holy city, and the holy land. By abandoning God for the pagan deities of their neighbors, Judah had not only become unclean as a people, but had defiled the temple, the city, and the land as well. God’s only choice was to withdraw Himself, send the people into captivity and destroy the nation.
To show them that this was not their end as a people, God announced ahead of time that this national cleansing from their sin of idolatry had a 70 year duration. They were to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar, go to Babylon, and live, rather than fight and die, and at the end of the judgment God would bring them back to rebuild.
Like the rest of his people, Ezekiel and his wife lived in relative freedom in Babylon where they acquired a house and settled in as the Lord had commanded His people to do. Ezekiel’s contemporary Jeremiah had written:
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
In the fifth year of his captivity, Ezekiel was called as a prophet, giving rise to the book by his name. In it he demonstrates an extensive knowledge of both his own people’s history and culture and that of the world around him. He was a man of great intellect, able to see the big picture and convey it to others, and had a commanding grasp of a wide variety of topics. In some circles he’s called “the father of the synagogue” for helping the Jewish people to maintain their relationship with God in the absence of a Temple through the synagogue form of worship that he designed.
The Book of Ezekiel speaks both of judgment and of restoration. The first 24 chapters deal with the Lord’s case against His people, and His efforts to convince them that Jerusalem would really be destroyed, the land would lie fallow, and their temple would be burned to the ground. Ezekiel’s pronouncements of judgment were harsh and unequivocal, leaving no room for hope. He explained why it was happening, and what they had done to cause it. He told them that God had been trying to get their attention, to show them that He alone is God and will not share His glory with another, and to persuade them to turn away from their idols and back to Him. But nothing had worked. The situation called for extreme measures. He had to make them see how serious He was. Some form of the phrase, “Then they will know that I am the Lord” appears 65 times in Ezekiel’s writings in conjunction with the things God had determined to do, both in judgment and in restoration.
So Ezekiel took them through several stages of realization, from “God won’t really do this”, to “If God does this He’ll be punishing us for the sins of our fathers,” and finally to “God is doing this and it’s our own fault.”
More than any other prophet, Ezekiel was often called upon to act out the prophecies God gave him, and in chapter 24 he was given a double dose of major bad news, Jerusalem would fall and his wife would die at the same time. Because God didn’t want His people to mourn the loss of Jerusalem, but to focus on its future restoration, He commanded Ezekiel not to publicly mourn the loss of his wife.
God also had Ezekiel pronounce judgment on Israel’s neighbors for their treatment of His people. Chapters 25-32 contain Ezekiel’s oracles of judgment against Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon and Egypt. They bore some of the blame for Israel’s punishment because they had enticed the Israelites away from God with their own idolatry. All of them would be conquered by Babylon as well. The Lord had Jeremiah tell their envoys that their choice was to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar and live in their own lands or suffer His wrath and cease to exist as nations. (Jere. 27:1-11) Over the next few hundred years several of these nations permanently disappeared from the landscape.
In Chapter 33 the fall of Jerusalem was announced and explained, and in Chapter 34 the Lord said that since Israel’s leaders didn’t take care of the people, He Himself would accept responsibility for them and would send His Servant David to lead them. (David had been dead for 400 years, so this was interpreted to mean the Messiah, the son of David.)
Then follows a final pronouncement against Edom. As the Israelites fled the Babylonian army, soldiers from Edom had lain in wait to cut them off or alert the Babylonians to their presence. Then, after the Israelites were gone, Edom looted their Jerusalem homes. And yet the people of Edom were descendants of Esau and therefore cousins of the Israelites. God took their treatment of His people personally and decreed the total desolation of Edom, which was accomplished by the Nabateans, who destroyed every trace of them.
And that brings us to chapter 36, where Ezekiel shifted to a promise of restoration and where our study on the End Times According To Ezekiel begins.
Ezekiel 36
A Prophecy to the Mountains of Israel
“Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The enemy said of you, “Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession.” ‘ Therefore prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because they ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people’s malicious talk and slander, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign LORD : This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and the deserted towns that have been plundered and ridiculed by the rest of the nations around you- this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland.’ Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I speak in my jealous wrath because you have suffered the scorn of the nations. Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I swear with uplifted hand that the nations around you will also suffer scorn. (Ezekiel 36:1-7)
Son of man is the term Ezekiel used to identify himself. It’s a generic term meant to emphasize his humanity. It’s not to be confused with the Lord’s title of Himself, “The Son Of Man”.
Once the Israelites were gone, their neighbors assumed that the land was theirs for the taking. With the whole world to choose from, God has only claimed the Promised Land for Himself, so naturally that’s the part the enemy wants, too, and he stirred up his forces to occupy it. Then as now people don’t realize that it’s the Lord who makes the land desirable, and when His people are not in it the land is not productive. The once-thriving produce industry in Gaza is a case in point. Having left it behind to help jump start the Palestinian economy, Israel has now been asked for help making it work again. The Palestinians have not been able to manage it profitably even though they supplied most of the workforce during the time of Israeli ownership. It’s not that they’re any less capable, it’s that the Lord is no longer involved.
That’s just one of the obvious parallels between Ezekiel’s day and ours. Some have even gone so far as to try and create a connection between ancient Edom and the Palestinians of today. While it’s easy to see the similarities, the Palestinian people are not the remnant of Edom come back to contend against Israel again. In the judgment the Lord had Obadiah pronounce against Edom, He swore to leave no survivors (Obad. 1:18) and that’s what happened. The Palestinians were never an indigenous people, have never had a homeland and in fact didn’t exist until the UN created the term and identified them as such following Israel’s re-birth. But even if they were, Ezekiel shows that their claim to God’s land is without merit.
” ‘But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD. I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.
” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because people say to you, “You devour men and deprive your nation of its children,” therefore you will no longer devour men or make your nation childless, declares the Sovereign LORD. No longer will I make you hear the taunts of the nations, and no longer will you suffer the scorn of the peoples or cause your nation to fall, declares the Sovereign LORD.’” (Ezek. 36:8-15)
This prophecy was partially fulfilled during the post-exilic period and in fact during the time of the Hasmonean Dynasty (142-63BC) the people flourished in a manner not seen since the reign of Solomon. But since they were driven from the land again following their rejection of the Messiah we know it’s complete fulfillment still awaits us.
This is one of the first clues we get that Ezekiel’s prophecies of restoration primarily involve the time from 1948 into the Kingdom Age. There’s no direct mention of the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah and the subsequent 1900 year diaspora in the Book of Ezekiel, just the frequent promise that He’ll gather them back from all the nations to which they’ve been scattered. It points to the latter day re-gathering, not the one after Babylon.
Again the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman’s monthly uncleanness in my sight. So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ‘These are the LORD’s people, and yet they had to leave his land.’ I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone. (Ezek. 36:16-21)
Here’s a reminder of the cause of Israel’s judgment. The shedding of blood refers to their practice of child sacrifice, a form of idol worship so abhorrent to God that He said it never entered His mind that they would do such a detestable thing. (Jere. 32:35)
In Ezekiel’s day the captives were taken to Babylon, yet this passage again talks about their dispersal among the nations, a reference to events following their defeat by the Romans nearly 700 years later. Another clue pointing us to the End times.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
” ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel! (Ezek. 36:22-32)
These 10 verses contain the clearest possible denial of the Replacement Theology heresy. Israel could not forfeit God’s promises by rejecting the Messiah because Israel’s behavior is not at issue. God clearly told them that He wasn’t going to re-gather them out of all the countries because of any thing they had done to deserve it. In fact it would be in spite of what they had done. He was going to re-gather then because He promised that He would. And then He was going to give them a new heart and put His spirit in them. This can only happen when one is born again, and it couldn’t have happened after Babylon because the Lord hadn’t come yet. The day will come when they will live in the Land, God will be their God and they’ll be cleansed from all of their impurities. To deny that this is yet to happen is to accuse God of breaking His word to His people.
” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek 36:33-37)
Chapter 36 is an overview that extends from the regathering in 1948 into the Kingdom Age. In it, the Lord promised to bring them into the Land, cleanse them from all of their sins, install a descendant of David as their shepherd, give them a new heart and put His spirit in them, take them as His people and be their God and completely rebuild their nation.
200 years earlier He had sent Isaiah to tell them:
“Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. (Isaiah 46:8-11)
Now He was sending Ezekiel to give them the details. The bird of prey was Babylon, whose symbol was an eagle with a lion’s head. The man from a far off land was Nebuchadnezzar who He called His servant (Jer. 25:9). God’s plan was to cleanse them and restore them once and for all, and what He has planned He will do.
Although God had known from the beginning of time that Israel would reject the Messiah’s offer of the Kingdom, it was a bona fide offer just the same, and had they accepted it Ezekiel 36 would have been fulfilled, beginning in 30 AD. But they didn’t and the door was opened to the Gentiles, in part to make them envious. As a result, we have been cleansed from all of our impurities and from all of our idols. He has given us a new heart and put a new spirit in us; He has removed from us our heart of stone and given us a heart of flesh. And He has put His Spirit in us and moved us to follow His decrees and be careful to keep His laws. But we should be neither ignorant nor conceited. (Romans 11:25) The Church has not replaced Israel, we’ve just been included in the promise. (Gal. 3:29) For if their transgression has brought such riches to us how much greater riches will their fullness bring? (Romans 11:11-12). Chapter 37, the vision of the dry bones, is up next. See you then. Tags: , , ,
Related Posts:
Palestinian Wasteland?

More next time. I hope you'll come back soon. I will try and post the next parts every few days!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunset on America

Since the election results last night, I have had many, many different thoughts run through my head. My first reaction honestly was to cry. I cried hard. Some folks may think I'm a little over dramatic, after all, it's only just another election. That though, is wrong. It was not just some election. There is so much more to it. I have not been shy about how much I dearly have loved this country. I know I'm not alone. I think what I always loved about America was the grit and determination of not only the people blessed to be born here, but also of those who have come here. Many emigrants to America came with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Many of these folks found a way to work, and through lots of hard work and more importantly, a thrifty and downright plain and simple life. They put off extravagance and spending money on anything because they knew that eventually their hard work and simple living would pay off to where they could own their own home and buy their own business. The Constitutional and Biblical belief that America had always lived by, that ALL men were truly equal, was a reality to so many who had never had a chance to live as equals. After all, in America we had people of all backgrounds and nationalities achieve great things.America knew from whom she received her bounty and wealth. America knew that God was the sole reason for her existence. When America recognised and gave thanks to God- America prospered. She was the breadbasket to the world. Her colleges and universities were the greatest in the world. So great that people form other countries would send their children to America for educations which were unequaled anywhere else. America was the beginning of the Industrial revolution- the first automobile, assembly line, electricity. America had the biggest boom of the roaring 20's. But then, America forgot where her blessings had come from. After the enlightenment and socialist and humanistic philosophies from France and the French revolution, people began to question, then mock the existence of an Almighty God, and have been searching out every other god and idea ever since.
We have come to the end of what has been called the Great Experiment which is America. We have gone from a day of Thanksgiving and prayer proclaimed by the President of the United States, to giving thanks to every other god under the sun from the halls of congress. We have gone from God Bless America to God d*** America. We have gone from being the world's defender to the blame of all the world's problems. We have gone from being Israel's greatest friend, to giving and planning the wholesale slaughter of her people by land grabs to her enemies! We have gone from Colleges and Universities such as Harvard, Yale and William and Mary which were all started as Christian Seminaries, to these same colleges and universities filled with professors who teach atheism, humanism and communism. What began as a New Republic, the first truly free nation on earth, one in which the very Government branches- the Legislative, the Judicial and the Executive, were based on the core of Biblical principals, has become almost tyrannical, ungodly and a Marxist welfare state, where the government rules the people instead of the People ruling the government.We have gone from that great cry given by Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death!' to just plain give me, give me!We've gone from caring for and loving our children to murdering them on the alter of personal indulgences and greed. We've gone from caring for our parents in their old age to shoving them into "homes" and going on to live our own lives.We've gone from answering the call to arms against the world's aggressors to sympathising with the enemy at the expense of our men and women in harms way.
My fellow Americans- it pains my heart to say, America is finished. You may believe that I am over dramatic, but America has fallen. We have gone from America Blessed by God, to America under Just and Righteous Judgement from God. Thomas Jefferson once wrote that he feared for this country, that God's justice would not sleep forever. Well, God's justice has not slept forever. When we have mocked Him, cheated Him, ignored Him, asked Him for Blessings while kicking Him out of our schools, our courthouses, our publicly owned government, when we have not taught our children His ways, His commandments and even worse, when our churches and pastors have taken out the message of the redeeming Cross to replace our Savior with a "whatever you want him to be, he is" type of christ- God has finally given us over to our own desires and deviances. In a way, He has let us judge ourselves, and it is exactly what so many have been working toward.
This morning, I thought, well, at least the Marriage Amendment passed here in Florida and more importantly, in California. That should say there are enough people who still believe in the Biblical Institution of marriage, right?! But consider this. What kind of society have we made when we actually have to even consider a state ban against gay marriage?!
We have allowed the gay agenda to permeate our entertainment industry, our government, our public government schools! We have allowed the gay movement to gain acceptance, not just tolerance! We have celebrated gay clergy in the church! We have allowed the Bible to be portioned out to allow for unBiblical behavior and lifestyles in the church!
We have men of GOD who have sinned publicly, and in many instances, they have been given a free pass. After all, we are all sinners right? Right, we are most definitely, but to have such an epidemic of sexual sin in all our denominations of the Church points to a festering sickness in our church! We allow our pastors to live as the world lives and teach tickling messages of love and tolerance, all the while editing sin and the cross out of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS! What has happened to Biblical Correctness?! It has been practically labeled as hate speech!
Can anyone wonder why America has just elected an admitted Marxist to be our next president? Can anyone wonder why people who believe he is the messiah who will give them everything they want turned out in droves to vote for nothing more than a bunch of free stuff?! Can anyone wonder why our constitution is no longer a part of the American fibre, when even a Christian president has declared it as no more than a d***ed piece of paper?!
People, I am no prophet. I wish I were, but let me venture to warn you where America is in this point in History. First of all, the popular saying is that History repeats itself. Well, we are witnessing this repetition now. We are not only Israel being led into bondage under Babylon, but also the downfall of the Roman Empire. We are the beginning of the Nazi regime.
We will be headlong into a socialist regime before long. It will start off innocently enough. A few judicial appointments here and there, the passage of a few bills, such as the fairness doctrine and the Employment Non Descrimination Act, and Hate crimes legislation. Soon, it will be abortion across the board, with all parental provisions, partial birth provision and conscience provisions will be removed. Parents will not have a right to know, partial birth abortion rates will rise, and doctors and nurses will no longer be exempt from having to perform abortions on conditions of Religious beliefs.
We will be witnessing not only homosexual marriage and special treatments, but not long after, such practices of polygamy, incest and even bestiality will be lawful and even promoted.

Parents will not be allowed to make decisions on their children's education. If homeschooling is even allowed anymore, it will be federally controlled and allowable only with federally sanctioned curriculum. Children will be brought up and raised by the state, and given over to community organizations where they will be taught to protest all archaic morals and values systems.

We will be ruled over by a new "community militia", where our 2nd Amendment rights will be no longer held valid.
Our economy will be in the tank, all the free stuff promised will have to be paid for by someone, and all those evil and selfish rich corporations will go bankrupt paying for it all.
Pastors will be told what they are allowed to teach on Sundays, and no mention of sin will be tolerated out of people's feelings being hurt and damaged. Public reading of the Bible will be outlawed. Speaking against homosexuality, abortion, and telling others the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ will be no longer allowed for such speech is hateful and intolerant.
A few years ago, I wrote about the fact that America is not found in the Bible. It is not mentioned at all in any prophecies about the end times. I wondered how such a country such as America could not be mentioned. After all, America was once the Shining City on a Hill. It was the leader of Democracy. It was the greatest, most Blessed Nation on the face of the earth! America was once a Godly Nation!
It didn't take long to fall did it? The sun has set on America, and we are entering into the last days. Do not fear, if you are faithful to the Lord. Be strong and Stand on the WORD of the Lord! be courageous and bold, be strong and not faint of heart. He is with us! We need to spend our time showing everyone we know the Good News which is desperately needed in this darkening country. There are more being readied for the final harvest. For my brothers and sisters in Christ, I look forward, as you do, or should to His return. I am weary of this world and it's deceit and lies. I look forward to meeting you all soon, after I meet my Lord and Savior of course!
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, please, find a Bible, and crack it open to the Gospel of John. It's the 4th book of the New Testament. It will show you Jesus Christ, it will explain to you how Jesus died for you because He loves you so much! It will tell you how you can have a saving relationship with Him, and an eternity with Him when He comes again soon. Please don't hang around, waiting to decide as the world goes to hell in a hand basket. You may not have much more time to wait. He is ready to gather you to Him now. Please open your heart to Him. You'll be so glad you did.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Something to think about.

I was sitting here tonight listening to a sermon on the radio while goofing around on the puter. Something the pastor was saying really perked my ears and convicted me. I think it's well worth repeating- not word for word, but close enough I think. I will call it...

Jesus is--

Jesus is the homeless guy you see on the street. He's filthy and in rags, and usually stumbling along. You see, Jesus fought in Viet Nam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan and saw a lot of really bad things. He saw people die in hideous ways, and something just snapped in Jesus' mind. Jesus had a breakdown from PTSD. Jesus couldn't hold a job and his family all left him and want nothing to do with him. Now Jesus lives on the street.
Jesus is that drug addict who hangs out in the run down abandoned building over there. He's always high, and always looking for another fix. He got caught up in the drug scene from some "friends" at school, and now Jesus is hooked and has nothing to look forward to except that next high, or maybe death. After all, His life and death are about the same hell anyway.
Jesus is that guy dying alone from AIDS. You see, he made a lot of bad choices when he was young, and now is suffering for them. His family disowned him, and now he's on his last few hours of breath- and has no one to comfort him.
Jesus is in prison. He's done some real bad things, and now he's locked up for life. No one visits Jesus anymore.
Jesus is that young widow who's raising her kids by herself. Sure she had a lot of support as soon as her husband died, but that was months ago. People get busy, so now she's been alone and overwhelmed with her responsibilities. Jesus has no one to talk to.
Jesus is that old man. He's in a nursing home. Jesus has no one to visit him because his kids don't care, and they all live far away.
Jesus is that hooker down town. Jesus hangs out in a bad place waiting on the next trick to come along. Once Jesus had dreams. Now Jesus' life is a nightmare.

When you see the homeless Jesus, the drug addict, what do you say to Him? No way Jesus! I'm not giving my hard earned money to you for booze and drugs!

What about when Jesus is in prison, or dying of disease? I'm so busy. I don't know him anyway, so why should I visit him? What good would that do?

Jesus the widow? The widower? The Old man or woman in the nursing home? The hooker? Where have you seen Jesus?

What have you done for Jesus?
Have you shown the love of Christ to any of those Jesus'?

I've got a widow Jesus that I need to phone tomorrow. Better yet- I'll e mail her now and call tomorrow. Just to give an ear. Help with some housework to give her a break. Bring some lunch over for her boys.

There's a Jesus in all our lives. We need to show Him the love and compassion of Christ! If we all did what He commanded, we would not need politicians like the "One" running now for president taking and spreading the wealth.

We may not be wealthy, but there are so many ways to care for the Jesus' of the world. Let's start in our own backyards.
God Bless.

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:37-41

Ps- Tomorrow, November 3, is a day for fasting and prayer. Please pray for our country in the manner of Daniel 9:4-19 It is so important to pray. I know that we may be too late and under judgement, but God may be waiting for us to pray!